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Original Air Force One, a Lockheed Constellation, saved from the boneyard


columbine3Columbine II, a Lockheed Constellation that was the original Air Force One, restored and flown to its display home.

Reclaiming and renovating vintage aircraft requires dedication, innovation and perseverance.

That’s definitely the case when it comes to the restoration of Columbine II, a Lockheed VC-121A Constellation that this week flew cross-country to where it will be displayed. Considering this aircraft fading toward boneyard status, the fact that it could fly itself such a distance is a great accomplishment.

Karl Stoltzfus, founder of Dynamic Aviation, discovered “Connie” and made the decision the plane could be saved and made air worthy. Thanks to help from engineers and local volunteers in Arizona along with a group of workers led by Scott Glover from the Mid America Flight Museum in Mount Pleasant, Texas.

The Columbine II was the first aircraft to fly with the call sign Air Force One as it served to transport President Dwight D. Eisenhower after he took office in 1950. It is the only civilian-owned aircraft that was once part of the presidential fleet.

The Lockheed C-121 was the military version of the company’s Constellation, which was built for civilian aviation. The four-engine plane with the unique “triple tail” design was the signature aircraft for TWA as civilian travel increased after World War II.

Wednesday, after a stop in Texas, Columbine II completed its journey from Arizona and landed at its new home at Dynamic Aviation in Bridgewater, Va.

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Columbine II spreading her elegant and graceful wings climbing back into the sky once again. A big thank you to the team at Dynamic Aviation for bring her back to life, as well as Kevin for capturing her take off.

Posted by Boneyard Safari on Saturday, March 19, 2016

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Written by Wendell Barnhouse

Wendell Barnhouse is a veteran journalist with over 40 years of experience as a writer and an editor. For the last 30 years, he wrote about college sports but he has had an interest and curiosity about aviation since he was in grade school.